Well, autumn has unofficially arrived in this part of Ontario, that's for sure. It's getting pretty chilly at night, and I'm just about at the point of bringing in all the more delicate potted plants from the patio, to save them from being frost-bitten. The leaves are changing colour like magic-- every morning the scene out my windows looks different, with the deepening yellows and reds taking the place of green on the trees, and then scattering on the ground.
This morning, the girlies and I were all sitting around our enormous kitchen table, and I was trying to cajole them into eating a healthy breakfast before carting them off to their respective schools. We were all discussing what our week ahead looked like, and all the various activities that everyone would be engaging in.
We turned to Child Number Three's school schedule, and tried to jolly her along by talking about her "Theme Of The Week". I was delighted to see that the theme for the next TWO weeks will be APPLES.
Apple season in Ontario is a wonderful thing. We've got plenty of farm-country surrounding the place where we live, and one farm in particular has the best orchards around. They grow every variety you can imagine, including the all-time classic, Macintosh, as well as Spencers, Honey Crisps, Paula Reds, two varieties of Delicious, and my personal favourites, Cortlands and Royal Galas.
My kids just can't get enough of apple-picking. We go many, many times every autumn, and our house is always filled with the aroma of "apple-SOMETHING" baking, from September till at least the end of November. I've even bought a hand-cranked machine that peels AND slices apples all-in-one-go, so that I can maximize my time-use. When we finally reach the point when we simply cannot cram another apple-item into our mouths, I start making up bags of sliced apples and freezing them for future use during the winter... And they don't do too badly, actually, so long as you use them quickly after removing them from the freezer, and you don't let the slices sit out to thaw long enough to turn brown and mushy.
The thought of apples, and lovely, long, sunny afternoons in the orchard with my children, made my heart leap up from its "Monday" heaviness.
Mother: (in an excited whisper) Just GUESS what your theme-of-the-week is at school THIS week, Wee one?
Child Number Three: (heartily mashing up her cheerios with the back of her spoon and spattering milk everywhere) Don't care.
Mother: Oh, yes, you WILL care!! Because it's something that you all like very much!!
Child Number Two: (through a mouthful of toast) Is it CHOCOLATE?!!
Mother: No, silly. It has to do with what season it is. It IS something we can bake with, though!! And we can find them in the trees!!
Child Number Three: (EXCITED, NOW, with eyes shining) I know!! It MONKEYS!!!!
Child Number One: (rolling her eyes heavenward) I think you're going to need a new recipe book, Mum...